Conflict has left Syria a shell of its former self

The Los Angeles Times reports: First his parents’ home in eastern Syria was reduced to rubble, followed by his father’s pharmacy. Then Melad received a call last month informing him that his own apartment in a Damascus suburb had been obliterated by a bomb unleashed by a MiG jet.

By then, he had become inured to the sense of loss.

“I got to the point that when I would hear of another of our properties destroyed, I started laughing,” said Melad, a computer engineer who now helps with the humanitarian effort in Syria. “Just as we have gotten accustomed to the amount of blood over these last two years, we have grown accustomed to the destruction.”

Much of Syria has become a disaster zone: In September, the opposition group Syrian Network for Human Rights estimated that more than 2.9 million homes, schools, mosques, churches and hospitals had been damaged or destroyed since the uprising began in March 2011. More than half a million are a complete loss, it said.

Weeks later, the group’s founder, Sami Ibrahim, estimated that 600,000 more buildings had been shelled or bombed, as the government of President Bashar Assad escalated its campaign with daily airstrikes by helicopter and warplane. [Continue reading...]

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